The Angelus Chant

The Angelus – Prayer for Peace and Tranquility

Like a heavenly messenger, the Angelus calls us to interrupt our daily, earthly routines, and turn to thoughts of God, of the Blessed Mother, and of eternity. The Angelus originated during the time of Crusades as a prayer for peace and tranquillity in the land of living and for their country. The devotion is traditionally sung in Roman Catholic churches, convents, and monasteries (and should be recited at home), three times daily at 6:00 a.m., Noon, and 6:00 p.m. Indulgenced by Pope Benedict XIII, Sept 14, 1724. For centuries the Angelus was always said while kneeling, but Pope Benedict XIV[…]

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Icon of the Laudation of the Mother of God

Akathist Hymn to the Blessed Virgin Mary

Ad maiorem Matris Gloriam – For the Greater Glory of the Mother The 6th century Marian devotion, attributed to St. Romanos the Melodist, is one of the greatest marvels of Greek religious poetry, with a richness of imagery that is the despair of any translator. The title “Akathistos” literally means “non-sitting,” because all remain standing while it is sung. When the enemies attacked Constantinople, the citizens would hold a cross procession on the city walls carrying the Christian sanctities and reading out the Akathist Hymn to the Mother of God. The Akathist hymn was complemented by a new introduction in[…]

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Nativity of St. John the Baptist

“Ut queant laxis” – The Nativity of St. John the Baptist Latin Hymn

“O for your spirit, holy John, to chastenLips sin-polluted, fettered tongues to loosen;So by your children might your deeds of wonderMeetly be chanted.” Paolo Diacono (Paul the Deacon) (ca. 720 – ca. 799) a monk of Monte Cassino and a friend of Charlemagne, had composed, in honour of St. John the Baptist, the hymn: “Ut queant laxis.” In the thirteenth century the Benedictine monk Guy of Arezzo noticed that the notes sung on the first syllabes formed the sequence of the first six degrees of the scale. He named each degree by the corresponding syllable: “Ut, re, mi, fa, sol,[…]

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Celestial Sphere Painting from the Church of the Holy Sepulcher

Gregorian Chant Hymns to the Holy Trinity

“All life begins in the Trinity, comes from the Trinity, and is destined to seek eternal rest in the Trinity. Even damned souls, by suffering punishment for having rejected love, finally do glorify God’s justice. The life of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, mystery of divine mysteries, is a mutual giving so complete that the Divine Persons do not exist except in relation to one another. The divine life They share with Christ’s members through Baptism is meant to be shared with all peoples through the apostolic zeal of Christians.”  ~ Traditional Latin Mass Missal. Raphael’s Exhortation (Tobit 12:6-8) Then he[…]

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Dies Irae

Dies Irae (The Day of Wrath)

The Last Judgment, Final Judgment, Day of Judgment, Judgment Day, or The Day of the Lord in Christian theology, is the final and eternal judgment by God of all nations. It will take place after the resurrection of the dead and the Second Coming of Christ (Revelation 20:12–15). The doctrine, iconographic depiction and musical compositions of the “Last Judgment” are drawn from many passages from the apocalyptic sections of the Bible, but most notably from Jesus’ teaching of the strait gate in the Gospel of Matthew and also found in the Gospel of Luke. Dies Irae (The Day of Wrath)[…]

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Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Litany of Loretto)

Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Litany of Loretto)

The Litany of Loretto was introduced into the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore by Cardinal Francesco Toledo in 1597; and in 1613, Pope Paul V ordered it to be sung in that church, morning and evening, on Saturdays and on vigils and feasts of the Madonna. “From the first day of next October, therefore, until the second day of the November following, in every parish and, if the ecclesiastical authority deem it opportune and of use, in every chapel dedicated to the Blessed Virgin – let five decades of the Rosary be recited with the addition of the Litany of[…]

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Song of Zechariah

Benedictus Dominus Deus Israel (Canticle of Zachary)

The Benedictus is the Song of Zechariah, or Canticle of Zachary, given in the Gospel of Luke 1:68-79, is one of the three canticles in the opening chapters of this Gospel, the other two being the “Magnificat” and the “Nunc dimittis”. The Benedictus was the song of thanksgiving uttered by Zechariah who was filled with the Holy Spirit, on the occasion of the birth of his son, John the Baptist. In the Roman Catholic Church, the Benedictus is part of The Divine Office, that takes place in the early morning hours. The canticle received its name from its first words in[…]

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Ave Regina Caelorum - Hail, Queen of Heaven!

Ave Regina Cælorum – Hail, Queen of Heaven!

Herman Contractus (1013 – 1054) – an 11th-century Benedictine monk and scholar – has been traditionally credited with the composition of several popular Marian antiphons, including Ave Regina Cælorum. The hymn praises Our Lady, acknowledging her Queenship over heaven and angels, and extolling her unparalleled beauty and favor with God. It also acknowledges her as the mediator between men and Our Lord Jesus Christ, as it asks her to pray for us to Our Lord. “Dignare me laudare te, Virgo sacrata! Da mihi virtutem contra hostes tuos.” “Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O sacred Virgin. Give me strength against[…]

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Restoration of Sacred Music by Pope St. Pius X

On the Restoration of Sacred Music by Pope Pius X – “Tra Le Sollecitudini”

Motu Proprio promulgated by Pope Pius X on November 22, 1903 I. General Principles II. The different kinds of Sacred Music III. The Liturgical Text IV. External form of the sacred compositions V. The singers VI. Organ and instruments VII. The length of the liturgical chant VIII. Principal means IX. Conclusion Among the cares of the pastoral office, not only of this Supreme Chair, which We, though unworthy, occupy through the inscrutable dispositions of Providence, but of every local church, a leading one is without question that of maintaining and promoting the decorum of the House of God in which[…]

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Song of the Blessed Virgin Mary: Magnificat

The Magnificat – Canticle of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Magnificat is a canticle, also known as the Song of Mary, the Canticle of Mary and, in the Byzantine tradition, the Ode of the Theotokos. The text of the canticle is taken directly from the Gospel of Luke (1:46–55) where it is spoken by Mary upon the occasion of her Visitation to her cousin Elizabeth. An explanation of the Canticle Magnificat is given below from the “Devout instructions on the Epistles and Gospels for the Sundays and holydays” by Leonard Goffiné (1648-1719). In this hymn Mary with joy praises God, the Lord, that He has regarded her humility, and[…]

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Veni, Creator Spiritus

“Veni Creator Spiritus” is one of the most widely used hymns in the Church, attributed to Rabanus Maurus (776-856). It is chanted at Vespers, Pentecost, Dedication of a Church, Confirmation, and Holy Orders and whenever the Holy Ghost is solemnly invoked. A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who recite it. A plenary indulgence is granted if it is recited on January 1st or on the feast of Pentecost. Veni, Creator Spiritus, mentes tuorum visita, imple superna gratia quae tu creasti pectora. O Come, Creator Spirit, come; The souls which are Thine own invade; And with supernal grace inflame[…]

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Exsúrge, Dómine - Arise, O Lord

Exsúrge, Dómine – Arise, O God, Judge Thy Own Cause

“Arise, O Lord, and judge your own cause. Remember your reproaches to those who are filled with foolishness all through the day. Listen to our prayers, for foxes have arisen seeking to destroy the vineyard whose winepress you alone have trod.” ~ Pope Leo X The Israelites cried “Arise, O Lord” in confident expectation of victories over all their enemies through God’s intervention. Therefore, no matter how perilous the circumstances may be, and no matter how powerful the enemies of the Mystical Body of Christ are (which is the Church), the Lord will arise for the sake of Christendom if[…]

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